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Poultry-processing plant brings 402 jobs to Florence

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FLORENCE, S.C. — A poultry-processing plant will bring a $10 million investment and 402 jobs over five years to Florence County.

Carolina Precision Foods LLC is a poultry-processing facility that specializes in deboning, portioning, margination, custom further processing and mechanically separating food. The company is a joint venture of Carolina Fresh Foods and owners of Lake Foods.

The Florence County Council unanimously gave final approval to a fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement and an agreement for development in a multicounty Industrial and Business Park for Carolina Precision Foods LLC at its Thursday morning meeting.

The $10 million investment includes $3.825 million for land and building and $6.175 million in equipment and machinery, County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith said.

Wages will be approximately $17 per hour, which equals the average hourly wage in the county, Smith said.

“It includes the purchase of a 10-acre tract and existing building in Florence County,” he said. The facility will be located in the industrial park that also house Niagara Bottling Co.

Operations are expected to start in August, according to a press release.

The 30-year fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement features a 6% assessment ratio and a millage rate of 0.3893.

“This is a traditional FILOT and not true SSRC (Special Source Revenue Credits),” he said.

“The property is being added to a multicounty industrial park — the same one that is being used by Niagara with Marion County as the preferred partner. It means Marion County will get 1% of the revenues. That’s customary in 99-1 designations,” he said. “The multicounty designation also allows the prospective corporate citizen to receive an additional $1,000 in job tax credit per employee.”

The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits for this project.

Florence County Council Chairman Willard Dorriety Jr. said the county is excited about Carolina Precision Foods locating its new facility and creating 402 jumps for Florence County.

“It is clear that food and beverage companies continue to find Florence County as the right place to do business,” Dorriety said.

Carolina Precision Foods LLC chief financial officer Jim Robinson said the company is excited to become a member of Florence County and the Pee Dee Region.

“With over 65 million pounds of poultry processed weekly within two hours of Florence, this was the perfect location for our plant. With Interstates 20 and 95 at our doorstep, fresh chicken from Carolina Precision Foods can be processed for over 19-million consumers a day,” he said.

Agribusiness is one of South Carolina’s leading industries, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

“With our pro-business environment, it continues to grow at a rapid pace,” McMaster said.

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III echoed McMaster’s thoughts on agribusiness.

“South Carolina is home to a dynamic roster of agribusiness companies, and we are proud that Carolina Precision Foods LLC is joining that list,” Lightsey said.

South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said the additional processing facility will help the state’s poultry growers.

“We look forward to the continued growth of our state’s agribusiness industry,” Weathers said.

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